Over the years Google has not only added features to Android, but they’ve also consolidated the many different apps into a more cohesive and simple experience. Gone are the days of having 4 different messaging apps and different apps to make calls from Google, and in are the days of what seems to be a single-app solution: Hangouts. Not even a year ago we still had to deal with Messaging as the stock SMS app, Google Talk as the data communication app, Google Voice as the alternate phone number app, and Google+ Messenger to talk to your Google+ friends. As Google has melded all of these apps into Hangouts it’s pretty easy to see that only Google Voice hasn’t been touched in years, and it’s high time that changes for the better. We’ve recently seen some third party solutions for this dilemma, but would’t it be nice if Google just put everything together for everyone without having to modify things or get another app? Of course the correct answer is yes, and that’s why it looks like Google will be officially discontinuing the Google Voice app and rolling everything into Hangouts.
We’ve already seen Google do this with its desktop Hangouts browser-based app that you can find in Gmail, Google+ and other Google pages, but it has yet to work its way over to the mobile world. Basically on the Hangouts portion of any Google desktop webpage you can click on someone and make a VoIP phone call right from your computer. This sort of ease will make calling via your phone even more convenient than it is now, as it uses data instead of minutes, and will likely allow many people to switch from unlimited minute and texting plans to save even more money on their monthly phone bill. There’s also the possibility though that carriers could get aggressive and block such communication on their networks, as many have done with Apple’s Facetime video calling in the past. When are we going to see this happen? Odds are sometime around Google I/O in May, but knowing Google’s odd way of announcing things like today’s Android Wearables announcement that seems to have come out of literally nowhere, you really never know. Point is sources are saying it’s at least a few months out from production, but that it definitely is going to happen.